This post was written by a guest author.
We all try. The first and most important step to creating positive change is cultivating a positive, productive mindset. The keys to self-improvement are the removal of negative thoughts like doubt, fear, antagonism, or bitterness. Developing a path to success requires a structured plan that accounts for different areas of need.
6 Keys to Self-Improvement
The Power of Words
A daily affirmation is useful in establishing a firm base for successful thinking. Affirmations can come from a variety of sources including you. By simply stating what it is you want and putting it into words, you have taken a deliberate action toward making that thing a reality and added substance to your vision of success. Influential quotes or spiritual texts can be used for motivation. Sometimes, people outside of our particular situation can still articulate matters of our heart, mind, and spirit better than we can alone. The following quote is a prime example of how overwhelming concepts of self-improvement are broken down and made easier to understand for personal use.
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
Henry David Thoreau
Now isn’t that beautiful and profound? What Thoreau is saying is that we can’t simply change on a whim, think a thought once and be done with it. We must continually and everlastingly think the “thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Through repetition and persistence , we can train our minds to envision success and completely shift our thought patterns from the negative to the positive. It’s best to envision yourself living the life you want to and working your way backward from there.
Are there quotes or verses that inspire you? Use them as daily affirmations.
Asking the Right Questions
What Kind of Person Do I Want to Be?
Many times, the only thing separating us from our productive, good selves is the accumulation of bad habits. There’s nothing stopping you from developing the habits necessary to become the type of person you want to be. It doesn’t mean forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do. It simply means giving yourself the opportunities to act on your more positive impulses. If you have a heart after giving, donate to your local charities. If you have a thirst for excitement, commit to trying new things more often. If you have a passion for sharing knowledge, consider careers or activities that allow you to do so or perhaps just open up to your friends more and be the voice of reason for a change. Whatever it is you want to make a part of your actual character, actually do.
What Are My Passions?
We all have passions, whether we want to admit it or not. Invest in the good ones. There is a place where each of us can say “I’m in my element.” Spend more of your time doing the things you love and your demeanor will make a change for the better. It’s one of the simplest ways to immediately improve the quality of your life. Secondly, find productive passions. It’s fine and well to do things you like, but try to invest in activities that provide positive reinforcement of your other good qualities and create joy when you do them. Don’t mistake habits and small hobbies for your passions. Our passions are connected to the deepest parts of who we are; they represent our purest form of self-expression. Perhaps you are a writer, a counselor, or someone who is deeply spiritual. Knowing your passion allows you to naturally free your minds and imagination. Finding your passion is worth the time and effort, because it helps bring you closer to your essential “self”.
What Are My Hopes and Dreams?
Take the steps now to achieve as many of them as you can. Don’t be afraid to try. Think of it this way. Everyone dreams and wants things, but a very small percentage even begin to work toward their fondest desires. By simply beginning, you’ve brought yourself closer to your dreams than you could have ever believed. Small activities like building your resume and applying for a new job, auditioning for theater, or writing a story or two are the first steps toward realizing your dreams. Rid yourself of fear and know that you’re worthy of success. Set long and short-term goals so that you can see your progress. Be realistic in your approach, but remember that no dream is too big to turn into reality. It just takes work and dedication. Maintain a keen awareness of what you truly want out of life; too many times we forget and become apathetic towards life because we’ve neglected to follow our hearts.
What Do I Honestly Think of Myself?
Evaluate yourself honestly and crudely; take care to keep an open mind. From there, work to create the self-image that represents the quintessential “you”.
By constantly improving your self-perception and always finding new, positive goals to add to your desired self-image, you give yourself structure and a guide toward success. Your self-image is the backbone of your path to success. We sometimes cultivate bad perceptions of ourselves without knowing. These negative beliefs come in the form of self-doubt, self-deprecation, and relying too much on external validation. In order to improve your self-image you must work under positive assumptions, ones that empower you. This is fundamental to improving your self-image–in fact, it is vital to your improvement overall as a person. Repeat the following to yourself whenever thoughts of doubt concerning what you have to do creep into your mind:
There is nothing I cannot achieve, no obstacle I cannot overcome. I am my own person, defined not by external circumstances, but my own heart and mind.
Believe that much if nothing else. Choose to define yourself. Recognize that as humans, we are constantly bombarded with instinctual desires, subject to external influences, and emotional instability. These are unfortunate realities, but it is also a fact that you have the power to decide what will actually have power over you. Developing this sort of mental independence will save you a lot of heartache. Developing a good self-image will improve many areas of your life: relationships, dealing with failure, stagnation, negative thoughts, and even depression. Equip yourself to face things that contradict your goals. Your mind is the door to your success or your failure. The choice is most certainly your own.
The Big Picture
Self improvement is a process and it doesn’t occur overnight. As you grow and experience things, you’ll learn more and more about yourself and the world around you. Take advantage of that knowledge but do not allow that knowledge to take advantage of you. You have all the control when it comes to defining who you are.